‘Tis the season for fancy holiday menus, festive decorations, and perfectly wrapped gifts. The magic of the season can be contagious, but pet owners know all too well the temptations this time of year can bring for pets curious about all the buzz. Since it’s difficult to monitor your pet 24 hours a day, it’s important to do everything in your power to ensure their safety when decorations are on display. To help you do just that, we’re shining a seasonal light on pet safety around holiday décor!
Anchor/Secure Your Decorations
There is nothing a curious kitty loves more than scaling Mt. Christmas Tree or batting over a lighted menorah. Because self-control can be in short supply at the holidays, install your Christmas tree in a wide base that won’t easily tip and secure candles, garlands, and fragile decor well out of reach of curious paws to help ensure injury does not occur.
If you’re concerned your Christmas tree will be stalked, consider setting it up and leaving it bare for a few days while your fur baby gets used to its presence. Give them a chance to exist with it in their environment before adorning it with lights and heirloom decorations. In addition, avoid hanging food decorations such as popcorn string, salt dough ornaments, and cinnamon sticks that could attract your pet’s attention.
Secure Electrical Cords
Extension cords are required to bring the holidays to life, but they can also be both a tripping and shock hazard to a curious furry friend. Run cords along baseboards if possible, or cover them with a rug, tree skirt, or cord protector if they can’t be hidden. This will prevent a pet from getting tangled up and pulling down decor, or being shocked when they decide to chew on a cord.
Keep Food Out of Reach
Candy dishes, cookie trays, and charcuterie abound during the holidays, and your pet’s nose will be working overtime whenever these goodies are in the house. Avoid placing goodies where your pet can reach them, and for cats and counter-surfing dogs, this may mean covering platters that sit on higher surfaces. Don’t let your holiday gathering be ruined by an emergency trip to the veterinarian because your pet ate an entire meat and cheese tray!
Skip Toxic Decorations
What do poinsettias, mistletoe, pinecones, scent sticks, and tinsel all have in common, other than being festive decorations? They can all cause toxic reactions if your pet eats them! Skip them altogether, or at least place them out of reach. An intestinal blockage is no joke and will cost you dearly in the form of a veterinarian bill. Signs to watch for include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, elevated heart rate, and even seizures.
Don’t Make Presents Accessible
Most people love to see beautifully wrapped gifts at the holidays, but your pet may see them as an opportunity. Nothing makes a dog or cat happier than tearing into a package to find out what’s inside. Food gifts can be particularly tempting even when wrapped well. Remember, dog noses are 100,000 times more powerful than human noses! Consider tucking gifts away in a closet or closed bedroom until it’s time for festivities so your pet isn’t tempted. If presents must go underneath your tree early, invest in a pretty Christmas tree fence to help your pets keep their distance.
Your Pets are our Priority!
At the National Animal Supplement Council (NASC), our number one priority is to promote the health and well-being of your pets. That is why we created the NASC Audit Program and the Quality Seal, which helps you identify animal health and nutritional supplements that come from responsible suppliers committed to producing the highest quality, most consistent products available. Visit our website to learn more and to see a list of NASC members who have earned the Quality Seal.